Las Vegas Sun

July 7, 2015

Currently: 79° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Summit View juvenile prison closure brings questions

Sun Coverage

CARSON CITY – If the Legislature approves Gov. Jim Gibbons’ plan to close the Summit View Youth Correctional Center near Nellis Air Force Base, the state will still have to pay off a $1.2 million mortgage for an empty building.

Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, said the closure of the 96-bed facility would save $3.5 million over the next two years.

Willden said the high-security inmates would be transferred to youth reformatories in Elko and Caliente.

But Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, questioned why the shifting of these inmates took place before the Legislature had a chance to look for alternatives.

Willden told Horsford he was told to start saving money. He conceded he still would need approval from the Legislative Interim Finance Committee to hire more staff at Elko and Caliente.

Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, said the state would still be on the hook to pay off the $1.2 million in bonds with an empty facility.

The state has until 2017 to pay off the bonds. Willden said attempts are being made to find somebody to lease the prison and possibly bring in youth from other states. He said this could be a “revenue opportunity” for the state.

Summit View was built for 96 offenders but the cost is higher per inmate than the other two reformatories. Willden called it a “prison for youth” with cells and razor wire fencing. Elko and Caliente are more of a “domestic cottage flavor,” he said.

It was opened in 2000 but Willden said he closed it from March 2002 to January 2004.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comment so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.